The fourth-quarter drama briefly stirred memories of Maryland’s epic rally from a 31-0 deficit to beat defending national champion Miami in 1984. But in an entertaining game in which the teams racked up 957 yards of total offense, the Terrapins (1-1) proved too turnover-prone against a program they have not beaten since many current Terrapins were in middle school seven years ago.
The Mountaineers won their seventh game in eight tries against a Randy Edsall-coached team. Edsall had amassed a 1-6 record against West Virginia during his 12-year tenure at Connecticut. And Saturday’s postgame news conference brought an uncharacteristic show of emotion from Edsall after he was asked about the resolve his players displayed by turning a rout into a competitive game.
While occasionally poking his finger down at the podium, Edsall said in part: “I don’t expect anyone to quit. I’m going to tell you this: On a Randy Edsall-football coached team, there ain’t ever going to be any quit. If there is somebody who is going to quit, they aren’t going to be on this team. . . . These kids respect the game too much to give anything but their best effort. And I guarantee you that is what you will see out of Maryland football.”
After he completed his response, Edsall abruptly ended the nine-minute news conference and walked off.
Soon after Edsall departed, in walked quarterback Danny O’Brien after perhaps the worst game of his college career. O’Brien, who was knocked out of last season’s West Virginia game after one play, threw three interceptions Saturday, including one in the first quarter that was returned 37 yards for a touchdown. The final interception occurred after Maryland had driven to the West Virginia 35, putting itself in position to score a potential game-winning touchdown with 1 minute 13 seconds to play.
After free safety Eain Smith’s game-sealing interception, O’Brien, who completed 34 of 52 passes for 289 yards and one touchdown, said he became emotional in the locker room and that several teammates — “too many to name,” he said — came to his side.
“This is the worst feeling in the world, and it’s not going to happen again,” O’Brien said. “Next week can’t come fast enough. I have great friends who pulled me up in the locker room. Just because we feel this team can be really good, really great.”
O’Brien directed an offense that was without two of his top three wide receivers because seniors Ronnie Tyler and Quintin McCree were suspended indefinitely after Tyler was arrested early Thursday morning and charged with second-degree assault.